On top of this, partially disintegrated plastic (called microplastic) finds its way into our food sources and, eventually, onto our plates. A recent study found that Australians are ingesting up to 250 grams of plastic a year – that’s around 50 credit cards’ worth.
The health consequences of ingesting microplastics are wide-ranging, and have been linked with cancer, hearing loss, nervous system damage, hormonal disruption and reproductive problems.
The good news is that small changes can make a big difference. When Australian supermarkets started phasing out single-use plastic bags in 2018, the National Retail Association estimated they prevented a staggering 1.5 billion bags from being introduced into the environment.
More recently, the government has started taking steps to phase out more single-use plastic items – including plastic cutlery, straws and polystyrene food containers – by 2025. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start minimising your use of these problematic materials today.
Here are five simple ideas that can help you reduce the amount of plastic you use in your daily life.